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Inauguration Day: Russia, Iran and China Cover the Start of Biden’s Presidency
Post by Rachel Chernaskey
January 25, 2021
Since then-former Vice President Biden began his campaign for president in 2020, Russian, Iranian and Chinese state-sponsored media outlets have covered Biden in strikingly different tones. Throughout the 2020 election cycle, Russia’s coverage of Biden was overwhelmingly negative, pitting him against other populist candidates to include former President Trump. Iran, though less critical of Biden than of former President Trump in the lead up to Election Day, also consistently criticized Biden and portrayed him as another establishment figure unfavorable for U.S.-Iran ties and Iranian strategic interests in the Middle East. China’s content, meanwhile, was the most favorable toward Biden, albeit in a cautious tone and coupled with parallel coverage highly critical of the U.S. and its system of governance.
Russia, Iran and China’s rather benign coverage of Biden thus far should not be seen as overwhelming favorability toward Biden, but rather a period of assessment as each of these regimes determines how to respond and message regarding the new administration. The tones in which these state media outlets cover Biden later in the year—and especially any future instances where the countries’ state media outlets show strong narrative convergence—will be more noteworthy representations of attitudes surrounding the Biden presidency and each nation vis-à-vis the U.S.